Welcome to Night Vale @ The Lowry

In Listen

Welcome to Night Vale, the dark comedy, sci-fi podcast which has risen to the top of the iTunes podcast charts  over the last two and a half years and sold out a string of shows in North America, has now expanded that success into Europe. The premise of the podcast is that it is broadcast from the fictitious Night Vale; a tiny desert community where every conspiracy theory is true and the local population has learned to get on with their lives in spite of nightmarish creatures, shady government agencies and evil corporations. The charm and allure of Welcome to Night Vale is the podcast’s incredible ability to merge different styles and subject matters. Host Cecil Palmer’s soothing baritone evokes the nascent pleasures of NPR, the sci-fi setting and characters add elements of horror and fantasy to the show’s narrative. The deadpan and surrealist sense of humour spans from witty observations to silly wordplay and the soundtrack provided by Disparition incorporates an ethereal, ambient dynamic to the show. The live shows thus far have always focused on large events in Night Vale – Mayoral elections, a civil uprising against StrexCorp, some new condos coming to town – this new tour focuses on an escaped pack of monstrous and carnivorous librarians. There are also some familiar guest stars who drop by Cecil’s studio; writer and creator Joseph Fink even lends his talents as the latest intern to martyr himself in the name of Night Vale Community Radio. [soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/12606606″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /] Arriving just before the performance, seeing the crowd of fans dressed as their favourite characters, there was a palpable sense of community. Welcome to Night Vale has built up a fervent and esoteric fanbase. As a litmus test I brought along my brother, to see whether a Night Vale newb would appreciate the show as much as the cosplaying fanatics. The result was a resounding yes: he picked up on the tone, the sense of humour and the general ethos of the show readily. As a companion to the peerless podcast series, this live show was exhilarating – taking what is usually a personal experience and realising it in a theatre heightened the experience immeasurably. The use of the Librarian storyline allowed the writers to play around with more long-form storytelling and demonstrated there’s little Welcome to Night Vale cannot do. While the majority of Welcome to Night Vale’s UK tour has sold out, there are still tickets available for their second set of London shows. I urge you to attend.

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